The NBA season is nearing the midway point, and aside from the surprising starts from the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, who are headed in opposite directions, plenty of individual stars are setting the league abuzz.
Three big men with Hollywood connections have been the focus of many injury- and trade-based conversations since the 2012-13 season tipped off back in October. Despite the arrival of the new year, nothing's changed.
Here we'll track some of the latest rumors and buzz surrounding the NBA's brightest stars.
Andrew Bynum Update Coming?
A much-anticipated update on banged-up Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum is apparently coming soon, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer's John N. Mitchell:
According to Sixers director of public relations Mike Preston, the Sixers will probably have an update on Andrew Bynum when the team returns from the road. The update, if it comes, will most likely take place Monday.
Bynum has yet to suit up for a single Sixers game this season because of his aching knees, but when healthy there's no denying that the seven-footer is one of the best centers in the league, arguably second behind Dwight Howard.
With the season having not yet reached its halfway point, there is still plenty of hope that Bynum could return to the lineup for the struggling Sixers, and perhaps give them a lift in the postseason, if Philly gets in.
Three Favorites to Land Superman?
Dwight Howard will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season, and according to a unnamed Western Conference general manager via ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein, there are three favorites out there to sign Howard to a max deal this coming July:
"I have it as Lakers, Dallas or Atlanta for Dwight," said one Western Conference GM.
The Lakers would have to be considered the front runner, barring a colossal failure like missing the playoffs this spring.
As far as the other noted potential destinations, Atlanta is Howard's hometown, so the Hawks would be able to offer him something no other team in the league could. On the other hand, Dallas could offer Howard lots of money, a big market and the opportunity to play for a unique owner in Mark Cuban, a man who puts winning above all else.
Pau Gasol Not Looking to Leave L.A.?
Pau Gasol is having a tough time adjusting to Mike D'Antoni's new system in Los Angeles, evidenced by his fourth, fourth-quarter benching since D'Antoni was hired late in 2012.
But according to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin, Gasol isn't looking for a trade right now:
"No, oh, that's radical," Gasol said when asked whether he would request a trade following the Lakers' 107-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. "I still believe. I still have faith in what we have. I still have faith that I can be a big part in helping this team succeed. Right now, I'm not being able to do that very often."
Gasol's struggles have been well noted. He has made just 3-of-18 field goals over the course of the Lakers' last two losses and has brought in just 13 rebounds in 63 combined minutes of play.
The Lakers were supposed to be setting the pace in the Western Conference after acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this past offseason, but Gasol's, along with the team's early-season struggles have the Lake Show headed for hot water.
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